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Acetic Acid Ethenyl Ester (Vinyl Acetate)

CAS Registry Number 108-05-4

What is it?

  • Acetic acid ethenyl ester, also known as vinyl acetate, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used?

  • Vinyl acetate is used in the production of latex paints, adhesives, sealants, universal wood glues, solid stick hot melt adhesives for glue guns, caulks, plasters and plastic products.
  • It is also found in some pesticides and tobacco smoke from filtered cigarettes.
  • It is also found in several cosmetic and personal care products such as hair grooming products, eye makeup preparations and in a nail polish product.
  • Vinyl acetate can also be found in food packaging (including films) that rarely comes into direct contact with food.
  • Based on the most recent data, vinyl acetate is not manufactured in Canada, but is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Vinyl acetate was identified as a potential concern based on its classification by an international organization as a substance which was found to cause cancer in some studies with laboratory animals.
  • Vinyl acetate was also believed to have a high potential for exposure to Canadians.
  • Vinyl acetate was assessed by Government of Canada scientists to help decide if further actions may be necessary so that the health of Canadians and the environment are protected.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • Canadians may be exposed to vinyl acetate through the use of certain consumer products such as cosmetics and paints; however, exposure is expected to be very low.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted an evaluation of vinyl acetate based on science, called a screening assessment.
  • The Government of Canada's final assessment concludes that exposure to vinyl acetate is not considered to be harmful to human health. This decision was based on new information received during the public comment period, as well as more recent information from the risk assessment conducted by the European Union.
  • The risk assessment was published on January 31, 2009.

What should Canadians do?

  • Because exposure to vinyl acetate is expected to be low, and these levels are not considered to be harmful to human health, Canadians do not need to take any specific actions to reduce their exposure.
  • Canadians are reminded to follow safety warnings and directions for use carefully when using products.